September 29, 2015

Late September Garden Tour

It's that time of year when the weeds have taken over the remains of the summer garden, busily going to seed to assure me of another weed war next year. My valiant summer efforts to keep them at bay can only be chalked up to another annual lost cause. Even so, the garden is still producing. Here's a late September tour of the remains of the summer garden and the fall garden's beginnings.

Okra is doing well, although the harvest isn't huge. Just
enough to enjoy oven fried okra several times a week.

My Ozark Razorback cowpeas have grown a lot.
I've tried growing them as a companion to corn,
but they seem to do better in full sunlight.

I pick them by the bucketful. We like them and the chickens & goats do too.

I planted white cushaw for my winter squash, but it doesn't look very white!

Radishes were kind enough to volunteer for me.

This potato plant is a volunteer too. It's tucked away under the branches of a
huge lambs quarter plant, which I'm letting go to seed for next year's greens.

Fall turnips are doing well. These need to be thinned. And the flower?

The flower is to a nutmeg melon plant, the one I thought was cucumber.
Like a number of things the melons seem to be getting their 2nd wind.

My tomatoes have knocked down their cages and completely overrun them
along with everything else in their path. This doesn't make for easy picking.

But they've gotten their second wind too, so I should get another round of
tomatoes to harvest. This one's got me thinking, "fried green tomatoes."

Carrots coming up. I've also planted parsnips, beets, and collards. So far I've
seen one beet & one collard, but no parsnips yet (they are slow germinators.)

This is Egyptian wheat, which I'm growing for a seed crop. It isn't really
a wheat, rather, it is a large seeded sudan grass. I may try to grind some
of the seeds, but mostly it will be another hay crop for the goats. 

Sweet potatoes have yet to be harvested. I planted as a companion to
my okra, but I think they got too much shade and haven't vined well.

The chicory likes the cooler weather too and has bloomed again.

The Jerusalem artichokes are blooming now too. These won't get harvested
until winter after the plants die back. Then, I'll dig them as we need them.

Do you remember where the asparagus patch used to be? Well, here it is now.

Dan's been making a hoop house in that spot. He has two cattle panels up in the above photo, with room for two more. The raised beds have lettuce planted in one, and arugula in the other.

That was a rather long-winded tour. How is everyone else's gardens doing?


Judy said...

Whoa! Egyptian wheat looks like Johnson grass! Please tell me they are different because, if not, you only think your wire/Bermuda grass is a problem. The seed will go through your animal's digestive system and they will spread it all over your homestead. Even Round-up doesn't completely control Johnson grass.

PioneerPreppy said...

I planted Cowpeas one time years ago and have never had to replant them since, They just volunteer like crazy each yer no matter how weedy I let things get they seem to thrive.

Oh and Okra....YUCK!!!!

Leigh said...

Yes, just like Johnson, its a sudan-type grass, which I did not realize when I bought it; I was looking for a grain producer. But guess what, we already have Johnson grass!!! The biggest difference that I can see is that Johnson grass seeds are much smaller, while these are wheat berry size seeds. (whoopty-do?)

But it gets better. On top of that, I also planted a hybrid sorghum for hay, which turned out to be another sudan grass. That said, the goats love it, as they do Johnson, and, I'm assuming they'll love the Egyptian wheat. Not that I plan to feed them the seed.

There is a lot of controversy over feeding Johnson as hay. Some say it's great while others point out potential toxicity. Like most other things, goats seem to be able to do just fine as long as they get their beloved wide variety of things to eat (that's just my experience).

The thing we learned about using these for hay, is that once they are full grown (the Egyptian wheat and hybrid grew much taller than the Johnson), the stems are thick and very slow to dry. That said, the hybrid could probably give us four cuttings if we got it at about knee height. That went to seed at about 5 feet, the Egyptian wheat got to about 6 feet and taller. I cut my random sproutings of Johnson much sooner than that although I see it growing on the roadside at about that 4 or 5 feet or so.

So there you have it.

Leigh said...

You don't like fried okra? It is kinda yucky stewed, but we love it fried, or rather oven fried.

What kind of cowpea did you plant, do you remember? I've never had it volunteer but I wouldn't mind that at all. It's another plant my goats love to eat.

Farmer Barb said...

I am about to get five inches of rain, so perhaps my shriveled up garden will perk up. Everything at your place looks great!

Leigh said...

Rain is always welcome when the plants are thirsty! I hope you get exactly the right amount. We got an inch and a half over the weekend and have rain forecasted for every day this week!

Frank and Fern said...

It's so nice to know that my garden isn't the only one overtaken by grass and weeds this time of year. That doesn't look like any of the Cushaw we have planted, it doesn't have a neck. You're doing better with winter crops than we are since I haven't planted anything yet. I am very interested in your Egyptian wheat. I'll need to find a source for it and see if I can get it started in the 'garden pasture'. Do you think it will reseed itself? That would be a nice addition. We going to plant some Austrian Winter Peas in the new part of the garden for winter animal greens and to fix nitrogen. It's something I wanted to do last winter, but never got around to. Thanks for the tour, it's always motivating!


Leigh said...

Check Baker Creed for the Egyptian wheat seeds, that's where I got them. I got the cushaw seeds from Pinetree, so I can't comment on the shape, although I've had cushaw in the past that were more like elongated, irregular pumpkins.

I like Austrian winter peas too, and found some in a pasture mix with wheat and oats for deer and turkey forage, of all things. Way cheaper than "regular" pasture seed! I'm planting that for both a winter hay crop, and also winter pasture (assuming the chickens don't eat it all, LOL)

Leigh said...

Make that Baker "Creek," and I don't know if it will reseed or not. I'm planning to harvest all the seed, but I'm sure I'll lose a little to that garden bed. I'll have to let you know!

Ed said...

If my father were to read this post, he wouldn't remember anything other than the fact that you are trying to let lamb quarter seed out. That would be enough to get his pressure up since up here it is considered a noxious weed!

We put in some salad stuff that is starting to peek up now. We got it in probably three weeks late but we'll see how the fall turns out. On the farm, we turned off the deer fence since the only thing remaining are a few pumpkins. Everything else is now officially done for the year.

DFW said...

I love fried okra & I think the flowers are so pretty but I can't pick it unless I am covered from head to toe. I itch for days afterwards if I'm not. Last October my cousin gave me a 5 gallon bucket full. We fried it all up & then freezed it on sheet pans in a single layer. I think we had 5 or 6 pans. We bagged it in quart bags. I took 1 of the last 2 out last week & it tasted like we had just fried it up that day, very tasty!

Can't wait to see what you do with the Jerusalem artichokes. I have thought about planting some.

Sandy Livesay said...


A nice tour of your garden. ~HA.....I see you've joined in the group with having weeds too!!!! My garden beds have been put to bed until next spring. The only beds left that are producing are tomatoes, beans, strawberries, and miscellaneous herbs.


Leigh said...

A professional farmer would have fits with my techniques! LOL It's the wire grass and deadly nightshade that get my blood boiling.

Leigh said...

My favorite thing to do with sunchokes is to lacto-ferment them (recipe here. We can't eat them raw (too much indigestible cellulose, if you know what I mean) but I feed them to the goats and pigs that way. They're also good baked or roasted. :)

Leigh said...

I'd like to hear from someone who doesn't have weeds after a busy harvest and preservation season! Sounds like you and Bulldog Man are on top of your gardening game, however. Good job.

Mama Pea said...

Not long-winded at all! I LOVE garden tours. Oh, golly Miss Mollie, our climates are so different!! Still so interesting to compare the two.

How's my garden doing? The stuff won't die! I know I should be whipped with a wet noodle for complaining about that, but I think because of our very slow start to the season, a lot of plants out there are still thinking it's summertime according to their calendar! I have everything harvested except the Brussels sprouts and root crops. And green peppers under cold frames I haven't given up on yet. We did have a very light frost this morning, but doesn't look as if it really harmed anything.

Unknown said...

I've put my gardens to bed just in time for a first this morning. We are moving into a 20 acre farmstead and have built a hugelkultur garden with 6 mounds for next year. So far the strawberries I transplanted are thriving!

Renee Nefe said...

I love your garden, but it makes me so jealous. ;)
I found the reason we are being attacked by crows & squirrels... the idiot neighbors (the one with all the cars) is feeding them!!! So now my yard is getting dug up as the squirrels are hiding the peanuts and the crows are digging them up to eat. argh!

Leigh said...

Differences in climate can truly require different gardening techniques! We all have to learn to adapt to where we are located. I'm amazed to hear you had frost this morning. I can't imagine that in September.

Leigh said...

That is excellent planning ahead! And congratulations on your upcoming move. Very exciting stuff. :)

Leigh said...

Oh Renee, I know that isn't funny, but that's so funny! I'm guessing said neighbor is clueless as to why this habit of their's upsets you. Who doesn't want somebody to be nice to squirrels! LOL

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Hi Leigh, Doesn't every gardener have weeds!! You grow a lot of things that I have never even tasted. If only I could go to someone's house and have someone serve me some of them to try! Thanks for the garden tour! Nancy

MQ said...

Nice looking green tomato. I love fried green tomatoes and last year I tried slicing them fairly thickly and canning then in wide-mouth short pints. Bread them with your favorite--flour or cornmeal or crackers--and they fry up nicely. Water bath, the same time as ripe tomatoes. I also make green tomato chutney. Num. Now that the weather here in TX is cooling slightly, my tomato plants are thinking about reviving. And weeds? I don't see no stinkin' weeds...Selective vision is such a handy trait.

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

Loved the tour. In many ways so different and so many ways alike to ours! Our gardens are still producing here in the UK and I have been waiting for some veggies to finish so that I can plant the overwintering onions and peas.

Leigh said...

Nancy, that would be a lot of fun, to cook for one another our of our gardens!

Leigh said...

Selective vision! Love that. And it's interesting how heat loving plants such as tomatoes can revive a bit in cooler weather.

Leigh said...

Gill, what kind of onions and peas do you grow in winter? I need to get my garlic in, but it's pretty muddy at present.

Mom at home said...

Our garden was taken over by weeds months ago. It rained so much this summer that we couldn't get close to it. The tomatoes only bloomed once and died. The only thing that grew well was the weeds. The flower bed was even taken over by a wild flower that was beautiful. After researching what it was, it has to go as it can take over the whole yard. Now the thing to determine is if any of my planted flowers survived the overtaking. It seemed like a lost cause this year. If we had to live on what we grew, we would have starved this year. Even the fruit trees lost all their fruit from the high winds we had with the storms. Feeling such a loss.

Erika keller said...

How do you get your Jerusalem Artichokes to bloom so late. Mine have flowered and died off weeks ago and we are so much farther north from you! I will have to try your lacto-fermentation recipe, thanks.

Leigh said...

Rain can be a huge problem with gardening, either not enough or too much! I often feel like trying to establishing plants is a lost cause. Not as easy as some folks make it sound.

Leigh said...

Well, they just bloom when they want to! It seems that plants "know" how much of a growing season they have to do their job. Things here go to seed at much shorter heights than earlier in the season. It's a mystery, and it's fascinating.

Quinn said...

I'm almost out of cornstalks to pick for the goats, and I stopped picking beans over a week ago to let the rest dry in the pod. After I pick those, and the last of the butternut squash, the fence will come down and the goats will have a literal Field Day.
I've never seen an okra blossom - isn't that lovely?! But making pickled okra when I lived in CO was the best way I've ever found to enjoy okra. I remember sitting on my porch with two other people and polishing off an entire jar between us!

Leigh said...

Pickled okra is like that. There's something about it that it "can't stop eatin' 'em"!

deb harvey said...

is the sudan grass gluten-free?
if it is be sure to write about its edibility if you do grind some.

i want to know what happened to the asparagus. [you probably already wrote about it, but i missed it. not enough time to keep up.]
i thought asparagus was perennial and a food source for life?

how do you oven fry okra.
when we lived in oklahoma someone gave us okra. well i washed it and cut it and rinsed it. you know what a mess that made.
i called suzy and she told me how to cook it!
we'd never seen it before.

if PP gives the name and source of the cow peas, please publish.
hope to move to a property of my own in a couple of years. cannot plant any thing permanent here. not our land.

interesting to read about climate differences as the jet stream changes position. some have peaches to burn, and here all the trees died from last year's cold. due to be same here again this yr according to almanac.


M.K. said...

After all the flooding here, I looked at our winter garden this afternoon, and everything has survived so far. They are just babies, but we have lots of various greens, plus broccoli. I'm hoping they mature and do well.

Elisa said...

What happened to the Asparagus:

Oven Fried Okra Recipe:

I hope that helps!

Elisa said...

Hi Leigh,

I'm curious about your hoop houses. I'm sure I could probably spend enough time with Google to eventually figure this out, but I really like the way you explain things, and trust your experience.

I assume that the hoop houses are eventually covered in some sort of sheeting to act as mini greenhouses. My question is somewhat multi-parted. First, how tall are your houses in the center? They look to be only about 3-4 feet tall. If that is the case, how do you access the plants inside? They appear to be fairly permanently attached to the raised bed sides. Does the whole wood frame lift up? How does that work?

Leigh said...

Good questions Elisa. Photos without something for perspective in them are difficult to gauge, aren't they? The hoop house is on a slope, with the far end giving about 5.5 foot clearance. I'm five feet five inches, so that's workable for me. The near end (in the photo) was upslope. As Dan has built more boxes, I've dug out the pathway in the center and used the soil to mix with compost and fill the new boxes. This has given me better clearance, so that I can walk the full length of the hoop house without having to hunch. For anyone taller, it would be too low!

Some folks make higher bases to get more center height. This was our first experiment with a hoop house, and we may end up doing something like that with the next one. It is meant to be permanent, which I'm happy with, because I plan to use it as a trellis next summer, for peas, tomatoes, or green beans.

Leigh said...

Deborah, I seem to have fallen down on the job of getting all comments replied to and questions answered! Thank you to Elisa for jumping in there with the links!

I finally gave up on the asparagus because I couldn't control the wire grass. Yes, it is perennial, so the soil never got turned after it was planted. As long as I could keep it heavily mulch I stayed ahead of the game, but once harvest and preservation started, I had no more time for mulching.

Okra, can indeed make a mess! I like it oven fried best, see the link provided by Elisa above. The trick is to keep stirring in corn meal of flour until it stops producing the "strings" when stirred. Eventually it absorbs enough flour or meal and is absolutely delicious.

Leigh said...

I hope they do too! This is a good time of year for greens and broccoli.